Thousands of retirees sue Lusaka layer Nelly Mutti

Lusaka lawyer Nelly Mutti
Lusaka lawyer Nelly Mutti

MORE than 2,850 retirees have sued Lusaka lawyer Nelly Mutti accusing her of deducting more than K51.5 million in legal fees without their consent.
According to documents filed in the Lusaka High Court, the former civil servants, who were represented by Ms Mutti of Lukona Chambers, say in their statement of claim that the legal practitioner deducted K51,571,097.73 without their consent.
The retirees, who were under the Voluntary Separation Association of Zambia (VSAZ), have since sued Ms Mutti as the first defendant and Attorney General Mumba Malila as the second defendant demanding a refund.
According to the claim, the deductions by Ms Mutti were in three categories, namely, 10 per cent legal fees, 10 per cent handling fees and 16 per cent value-added tax (VAT).
The deductions were made from the K468,161,166.23 that was released by the Government for the retirees through Lukona Chambers after they had a 2002 judgment that went in their favour.
This is in a matter in which Siachoke Simeza and 2,858 others have sued Ms Mutti from the Lukona Chambers claiming for a refund.
Ms Mutti had successfully represented the workers as they fought for their terminal benefits from the Government in 2002 before winning the case.
However, the retirees stated that upon winning the case, Ms Mutti allegedly started making deductions of 12.5 per cent when the Government started paying the money through her legal firm.
“The defendant never signed any agreement with the plaintiffs for the deductions of 10 per cent legal fees, 10 per cent disbursement fee of the 10 per cent legal and 16 per cent VAT whether with the voluntary separation association of Zambia or individually,” stated the claim.
They said although the retirees had been awarded costs in the previous case in which Ms Mutti represented the retirees, the legal practitioner had neglected to agree with the second defendant about the costs.
The retirees further claimed that the second defendant should pay any money that might be due to the retirees after tax and release any money for the retirees that might have been held after the 2002 judgment which went in their favour.
The claim by the retirees comes barely a few days after Ms Mutti sued the Government demanding 12.6 per cent, in legal fees, of K54,000,000 payment the Government made to her former clients.
This is a matter in which Ms Mutti sued the State through the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice Permanent Secretary Josephs Akafumba as first and second defendants in a case in which she offered legal services to 3,523 retrenched workers.
According to the statement of claim filed in the principal registry on February 24, Mutti said she acted as advocate on behalf of the workers whose employment was terminated by the Government under the public sector reform programme.
On December 15, 2006, the High Court entered judgment in favour of all the retrenched workers and a consent judgment was signed under which the Government was to pay the affected workers.

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